As I have mentioned in my earlier posts, Nancy’s Mom was a terrific and very funny lady. She was very close with her kids and grand kids, so it was hard on her when our family moved from Orange County to Norfolk, VA. Even though she was in a wheelchair because her left leg had been amputated at the hip from soft tissue cancer, she insisted on coming out to visit us. In hindsight, we think it was her wanting to make sure that we were all doing ok.
So Gobby and her caretaker flew out here. We outfitted the house to accommodate her, including ramps and the bedroom on the ground floor. What we didn’t know was how sick she actually was at that time. While she was with us, she took a big turn for the worse. Of course we tried to pack her up and hustle her onto a flight back home, but it was too late for that. Instead, the great hospice nurse visited and quietly informed us that it was not going to be much longer. Nancy’s brother Mike made it out to be with us.
At one point, in true Gobby style, she called us close to her and said “Whatever happens, don’t let them take me out of here without me having on a clean pair of panties.” Nancy and Mike were a little exasperated that this was what she was worrying about.
After a while she did pass peacefully. Then the police came and went, the ambulance came and went, the priest came and went and eventually the mortician came. At that point her caretaker held up a pair of panties, because Gobby wasn’t wearing any. Nancy and Mike immediately said “No way” they could not handle that. So I took the panties and went to work. Now I had never handled a dead body before, much less a one-legged seventy-five year old woman who was stiff as a board and starting to turn blue. Here I was struggling to slide those panties up her one leg when I started laughing. That’s when Nancy and Mike decided they needed to lend a hand. So we were all wrestling this pair of panties up her leg and trying not to fall over laughing. At this point I turned to Nancy and said “After what I have just seen, we don’t have to have sex again for another six months!” We all lost it at that point because we realized that was Gobby’s final joke on all of us.
Later, when we were taking her ashes back to Orange County, we had to check her rented wheelchair at the airline ticket counter. The lady working there politely asked “Who is the wheelchair for?” Without missing a beat, my daughter Emily held up the carry-on bag with Gobby’s ashes and said “Her.”
The best part of it all though was when we were out on a boat in Dana Point Harbor to spread Gobby’s ashes and as we dumped the them overboard, a sea lion surfaced and started jumping through the ashes. I don’t think you can get any better than that for a Final Goodbye!